Gynecomastia surgery can transform your chest from female-like to masculine. The procedure is known as male breast reduction surgery and involves the cutting away of fat, glandular tissue, and the connective tissue that holds it all together. In many cases, gynecomastia surgery also involves the shrinking and/or repositioning of your areolas and nipples to match your newly configured contours. The surgery can improve your bodily contours while giving a massive boost in self-esteem.
Choosing gynecomastia surgery can be a frightening decision. You want to know if the surgery will be painful and if the results will be as you expect. More importantly, you want to know what to expect during the recovery process. Here is a rundown of the events following your typical male breast reduction procedure. By the end, you should be able to rest easy, as many men choose this life-changing surgery year after year. Gynecomastia surgery has increased in popularity by 30% since the year 2000.
Before we get to the recovery process, it helps to understand how male breast reduction works. This will put the steps for recovery into greater context, enhancing your ability to remember them when the timing is right.
After a consultation with a gynecomastia surgeon, and assuming you were found to be a good candidate for the procedure, you will be scheduled for surgery.
On the day of surgery, the surgical staff will administer anesthesia in one or more forms. Some gynecomastia surgeons prefer to put their patients under general anesthesia while others choose a local with sedation. The former will make you unconscious while the latter will leave you able to answer commands, but you’re not likely to recall much about the surgery.
Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the surgical staff will deliver you to the surgery room. The procedure will then begin.
The surgery begins with incisions placed discreetly in several areas around the chest. These cuts are traditionally small if they are used solely for liposuction. Liposuction involves the insertion of a thin metal tube known as a cannula to break up the fatty tissue on and around the chest. The fatty tissue is then suctioned out to leave the chest with more masculine contours.
For male breasts that include fat and glandular tissue, liposuction will be used before the glandular tissue is excised away. The incisions for the excision process are larger, but your surgeon will attempt to hide them within the natural folds of your skin.
The surgery can also involve the reduction of puffy nipples and repositioning of your areolas to match your newly configured contours.
Once the surgery is complete, your gynecomastia surgeon will seal the incision with sutures on the inside and outside. Your situation may also involve the implantation of drain tubes underneath the skin to catch excess fluid.
You will then be moved into an observation area for a few hours so the surgical staff can monitor your condition. Your surgeon will also tend to the surgical site with fresh bandages. You may be asked to wear a compression garment for a few weeks to tighten your contours and aid with healing. The drain tubes and sutures will be removed in a week or two following your procedure.
After your short wait in the recovery area, you will be sent home to heal.
The typical recovery time for gyno surgery is four to six weeks starting the moment you get home.
Here is what to expect as the days pass by from that point.
As with any surgery, you may feel some discomfort in the initial days following your gynecomastia procedure. You may experience pain, tenderness, or tightness on or around the chest area. Tell your gyno surgeon if this discomfort becomes too much for you. You may be able to manage the pain with prescription pain medication or over the counter meds like Tylenol. Continue wearing your compression garment and avoid taking a shower for at least 24 hours. For best results, sleep on your back in an elevated position, such as in a recliner chair.
Your swelling and discomfort should diminish by the one-week point. You’ll probably be back to work by this period in your recovery, though you should take it easy as much as you can. Refrain from doing strenuous movements and no weight training until your gynecomastia surgeon says it’s okay.
Your surgeon will remove your stitches or sutures at this point in time.
You should be feeling back to your normal self in about two weeks. You can go back to your normal activities without issue but tell your surgeon if you experience any discomfort or pain. Go easy on the exercise, even at the two-week mark. Stick with low-impact workouts for the best results.
You should still wear your compression garment as well as sleep on your back, though keeping your back elevated is no longer important.
Your gynecomastia surgeon should let you know that normal exercise is fine by the one-month mark. You should still go easy on any exercises that put a strain on the chest, however. Your surgeon may also tell you to take off your compression garment for good. You can shower and take a bath by this point without worrying about complications. All your swelling and bruising should have subsided, letting you view the ultimate results of the procedure – finally!
After a month and a half, you should be completely healed. All forms of exercise are acceptable by this point, including any that strain the chest. There may be some swelling in the pectoral area but give it a few weeks and that harmless swelling should subside.
The placement of the incision and any subsequent scars are largely a personal decision by the gynecomastia surgeon. Depending on the technique used and extent of the tissue cut away, you may be able to see scarring after you have completely healed.
You can attempt to treat the area with a topical scar lightening cream. There is no guarantee that it will erase the appearance of the scar, but it could be minimized at the very least.
Your gynecomastia surgeon may give you some or all of these tips. Keep them in mind as you recover from your procedure to expedite healing.
Your gynecomastia surgeon has built a career helping patients just like you. To avoid complications and experience the best results, listen to the instructions your surgeon gives you. Have faith that all that experience contributes to the best advice for an easy recovery.
It may be tight or otherwise uncomfortable at times but always wear your compression garment when prompted by your surgeon. The garment helps to give you stellar results and improves blood circulation, which your tissue needs to heal properly.
Your gynecomastia surgeon wants to know that you are progressing and healing nicely. For that reason, a series of post-op appointments will be scheduled to allow for a short examination and discussion regarding your recovery progress.
You can keep swelling and pain to a minimum after your procedure by applying a cold compress to the most swollen parts of your chest. Don’t apply the compress directly to your skin, but instead use a T-shirt or towel to dampen the frigid temperature to avoid skin damage.
Practice good sleep hygiene so that your body can adequately recover while you slumber. Make your room cool and dark. If light streams in through your windows come morning, opt for room darkeners to ensure your sleep is never disturbed. If possible, try sleeping without an alarm clock. This may involve you going to be much earlier if you need to be up early for work. The better your sleep quality, the more effectively you’ll heal following gynecomastia surgery.
Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes can hinder the healing process, setting you back by days or even weeks. You also run the risk of experiencing complications or skewing your gynecomastia results. For best results, commit to no drinking or smoking for at least two weeks before and after your procedure.
During the recovery process, do your best to eat light and healthy food options. Heavier foods may not agree with you, especially in the first few days as you recover from anesthesia.
You can contribute to faster and more effective healing after gynecomastia surgery by supplementing your diet with a multivitamin and several micronutrients like zinc and magnesium to promote healing.
Aim to drink at least sixty-four ounces of water each day. Carry a large water bottle with you to make drinking that much water convenient.
The ideal scenario would involve you resting at home for a full week (at least) after your procedure. You might want to request a longer absence if your job is physical in nature.
Other than your compression garment, don’t wear anything tight that may constrict your blood flow in the weeks following your gyno procedure. Plan to wear loose fitting clothing, such as sweatpants and a sweatshirt or T-shirt. Preferably, you’ll wear shirts that don’t require you to raise your arms above your head to slip them on.
You should plan to have someone with you at the gynecomastia surgical center so that you can get a ride home after your procedure. That person can also help you with things you may need around the house. You may need to run errands, keep up the house cleaning-wise, and other tasks you may be too worn out to do. Your helper can even keep you company, as the recovery process can be lonely if you live by yourself.
Your skin can begin to itch as it heals. This itchiness can occur on and around the sides of your chest. For best results, leave these areas alone. At the three-week point, you can begin to massage the treatment area. The tissue should be soft and malleable. You can use your hands or a massage roller device. Start with twenty-minute intervals three times per day for the first eight to ten weeks. This can help to even out your skin tone and soften visible scar tissue.
Limit any intensive physical workouts until you are cleared by your surgeon. When it’s finally time to return to the gym, take things slowly. The best path is to progress slowly with incremental weight increases until you are back to your former self.
Your mental health is critically important to the healing process. It’s easy to get down as you recover, especially in the first few days as pain and discomfort may rear their ugly heads. To keep your spirits up, keep your shoulders held back and your chest out. Have faith that your results will be just as you and your surgeon discussed during the consultation phase. That should be enough to keep you positive as you heal from gynecomastia surgery.
Hopefully by now you see that male breast reduction surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can help you feel better about your body once again. The recovery process may take a few weeks, but the pain and discomfort dissipate in the first few days, which means it should be smooth sailing from that point forward.
Want to learn more about male breast reduction surgery, the male breast lift, or the recovery process? Call the Gynecomastia Center of Los Angeles to schedule a consultation.
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